10th IMC report already being heralded..

Filling the gap between the IMC presenting their latest, the 10th, report to the Irish and British governments and the rest of us being able to see it, on Wednesday, Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland Peter Hain has, once again, been accentuating the positive [expect similiar statements to those in February to be made in the days ahead].. though Peter Hain doesn’t seem to have explained what he means by the IRA “cracking down” on criminal activity.. nor why that organisation taking on, what should be, a policing role is, of itself, a good thing? Meanwhile Liam Clarke in the Sunday Times has a slightly more nuanced take on the report.From the BBC report –

Speaking on GMTV’s Sunday Programme, Mr Hain said republicans were increasingly heading towards engagement in democratic politics.

He said the IRA was “cracking down” on criminal activity, although there were still problems with some dissidents as well as loyalist paramilitaries.

“But the overall picture is of a Northern Ireland light years away from where it was,” he said.

“I don’t think that any politician in Northern Ireland can use the excuse for much longer that the IRA poses a terrorist threat or that it’s organised some central criminal conspiracy as a reason not to join in a power-sharing government over the coming period.”

While the Sunday Times reports –

THE latest report of the International Monitoring Commission (IMC) on Wednesday is not expected to upset this week’s round of negotiations, according to Irish government sources. The report will not give the IRA a completely clean bill of health, but will state that steady progress is being made.

It will confirm that the IRA is no longer recruiting or preparing for a return to violence. It is understood that the IRA is continuing to gather intelligence on political and economic matters and does not pose a threat to the security forces. The organisation has also scaled back some of its criminal enterprises.

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  • Comrade Stalin

    How can the IRA “crack down” on criminals and at the same time be considered committed to peaceful and democratic means ?

    This comment is up there with Mo Mowlam’s “housekeeping” comments.

  • Rubicon

    I’m not convinced Hain’s use of “crack down” is to be interpreted as violent or undemocratic. There are number of legal ways pressure can be brought on criminal elements – varying from organisatioal pressure to passing information to Irish (or British) security services – directly or indirectly.

  • slug

    Its good news that the IRA are gradaually winding down.

  • Fenian Bastard

    This is becoming increasingly absurd, if Liam Clarke is correct, the IMC will state that the IRA are “continuing to gather intelligence on political and economic matters”.

    That raises two observations – good if they are collecting intelligence on political issues as they fits in with their declaration of last year.

    My second point is WTF does collecting intellignce on economic matters mean??????

    Bizarre.

  • Rubicon

    FB – it means that they are participating in democratic politics. Can Clarke encourage the rest to do the same?

  • ingram

    Quote”My second point is WTF does collecting intellignce on economic matters mean??????

    Banks or other money outlets.

    Marty

  • Rubicon

    Marty – any proof of SF involvement yet? Do you need more time? How much longer? Is there an end date to this complaint?

    If SF gathering intelligence on economic matters is grounds for their exclusion from government then what can we expect from the other parties? No intelligence?

  • ingram

    Rubicon,

    Quote”Marty – any proof of SF involvement yet? Do you need more time? How much longer? Is there an end date to this complaint?

    If SF gathering intelligence on economic matters is grounds for their exclusion from government then what can we expect from the other parties? No intelligence?

    The problem Sinn Fein has is clear. The party and the IRA are one and the same. The leadership of Sinn Fein are the leadership of the IRA so let us not waste time arguing the semantics of the seperation.

    NOW, IF SINN FEIN was to move on and distance itself from the IRA and those who champion the militant Republican body then I would be the first to argue that their electoral success should be respected and translated into real involvement in the Government of Northern Ireland.

    Martin